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Joined: Feb 2002
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Sidelock
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If an individual buys a gun from a dealer or auction house, pays for it in full and the gun is shipped to that individual, who is out the value of the gun if it is lost or damaged? Does the "individual" own the gun once it it shipped or is the seller responsible for getting the gun to the buyer in good condition? If the gun never makes it to the buyer, should the seller be responsible for making the buyer whole? I know what I think, but what do the legal minds think? We know that the big dealers and auction houses are self insured and that any insurance add ons go into their pockets, but who is really responsible if a gun is lost or damaged?

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What are the shipping terms?

If shipping is included it's their responsibility to insure it and make sure you get it safely.

If, as is usually the case, the dealer states shipping is extra, you pay for it and insure it, you just have to make sure they insure it at your request. If I send a gun out for work I always state I want it returned insured for replacement value, at my cost.

It's usually a good idea to name yourself as the beneficiary so you can deal with the shipper. The dealer may not pursue it if it's not to their benefit.

All this goes to hell if the dealer doesn't pack it properly.


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It comes down to who who owns the gun. Payment alone is not legal transfer of ownership. The seller may purchase insurance, on your behalf, but you still do not own the gun until you get a FFL form filled out and approved. Antiques are different.

I have had two guns with damage in shipment, more that showed up late but that is another shipping problem. In each case the carrier required the shipper to file the claim. Since I had not yet filled out the FFL form and had in fact refused to fill out the FFL form, to accept legal possession of the gun, it was still property of the seller. If you can not get approval on the FFL form you can not become the owner of the gun. I refused to even start the paper work because it was damaged in shipment. Both boxes had been beat to heck in shipment. Both claims were denied right off the start but ended up being paid in the end. I think it is a common thing to deny them and hope you give up. Both claims were paid to the seller not to me. I got a refund in the end but not from the insurance but from the seller.

Other sellers may try to make you deal with everything but I expect safe delivery, in condition as stated in the sale of the item. That has been my experience so far and I hope it never happens again. Some local laws may be different I am sure. I think that is why so many dealer refuse to deal with California sales thinking that the regulations there make safe sales a bigger headache.

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I’m not an attorney but I would think the responsible party is the shipper. If I bought a watch off of Amazon or a refrigerator from Lowe’s and it was never delivered or was damaged in shipping I sure would not think it was my responsibility. It’s theirs.
I am not sure why a gun would be any different.
That said I carry a gun insurance policy that gives me piece of mind when shipping guns or receiving them back from repair.
Like insuring a car and you get in an accident. Let the insurance companies from both party’s fight it out.
When I ship out a gun I have sold I don’t buy additional insurance. The gun is mine and covered until the buyer excepts the gun.

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Ghostrider, is that a separate policy or a rider on your gun insurance?


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It depends. If is considered fob shipping point, then once it is turned over to the freight company, title is considered passing to you and any loss is your. If considered fob destination, then the shipper is responsible until it is handed off to you.

JOhn Boyd


John Boyd
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281-870-8377
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Mr Boyd is correct.
I carry a large gun insurance policy through Eastern Arms. I am not a dealer but actively collect and trade some firearms The guns I have sold have the cost of freight and insurance included in the asking price of the firearm. Further it comes with a 3 day inspection period. My understanding the gun is owned by me until it is accepted by the buyer.
The buyer could decide after the firearm is received to decline the purchase and not take possession. In which case it is returned and the firearm continues to be covered and owned by me.
Now if I buy a firearm from you and you offer me an opportunity to purchase insurance against shipping damage and or loss, and I decline then you are off the hook and I am fully responsible. At this point my Eastern Insurance policy kicks in and I am covered.
Also not part of Eightbore’s question but some additional information concerning shipping guns out for repair.
I never purchase additional coverage through the carrier. Nor do I have the gunsmith add insurance on the returning firearm as I own the firearm and it is covered for damage, loss, or theft through my Eastern Insurance policy minus my $250 deductible.


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